Campaign signs have been posted for a few weeks and political advertisements are starting to fill up entire commercial blocks on television.

Here in Lebanon, election season got a meaningful boost last week from the candidate forum which was hosted by the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce at the River Center. 

The event featured candidates for Linn County Circuit Court, mayor and city council. This event provided the public with an opportunity to see the candidates in person and hear how they would address some of the key issues facing this community and the county.

Coverage of this event is included in today's Express. The Express will continue to cover these important races in the weeks to come. Profiles of the mayoral candidates are slated for the edition of October 10. The three candidates for City Council Ward 3 will be featured in the edition of October 17. The two council candidates who are running unopposed will be highlighted in the edition of October 24.

While the Express hopes to provide useful information for voters, it will not endorse any candidates. This practice was possible in the past when the newspaper had sufficient staff to provide some level of separation between editorial and reporting duties. That no longer exists. It is not tenable for an individual who will be reporting on these offices to have offered an endorsement in these races.

We are fortunate here in Lebanon to have strong candidates for local office. Last week's forum was an impressive demonstration of the commitment each of these candidates has shown to serving the community. Seeking public office invites scrutiny. This is inevitable and necessary. Thankfully, there are individuals willing to undergo this process in order to fill these valuable positions.

As residents of this community, it is our task to make sure we are properly registered, that we are as informed as possible, and that we turn in our ballots. This is a small amount of effort compared to the importance of having qualified individuals fill these posts. (lg)

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